Sam Sifton awards one star to Niko, where the point is “not really the food, though good food will bring people to the restaurant and keep them coming back despite the din that rises in the room when the hour grows late. The important thing about Niko is the scene that Mr. Levy is attempting to build in conjunction with the food.”
Steve Cuozzo is charmed by Benoit, where “most everyone seems delighted by a menu increasingly rare in New York: traditional French, neither haute nor farmhouse-shticky.”
Ryan Sutton doesn’t hate Beauty & Essex, which is “at least more tolerable — especially in a booth — than such other noisy, crowed venues as Tao, Lavo, Buddakan, and The Hurricane Club.”
Adam Platt approves of La Silhouette (“If you’re weary of gnawing on trendy, overpriced comfort foods, a quiet dinner at La Silhouette offers all sorts of other vanished, reaffirming pleasures”), but not so much of La Petite Maison (“something’s gone horribly wrong at the new midtown branch of the famous Côte d’Azur restaurant”).
Jay Cheshes awards five stars to M. Wells: “an ambitious newcomer in Queens that is shaping up to be NYC’s deliverance from its rustic Italian rut. The underdog project, in an old diner overlooking the Long Island Expressway, serves the most exciting and fearless food this town has seen in years.”
Tables for Two more or less approves of Lincoln: “Pastas are hit or miss. … The carne can be beautiful.”
Gael Greene raves over Marc Forgione, which has much improved since her first visit: “The room has softened and feels cozy. The chef has grown into his inheritance. The staff reflects his confidence.”